Have you ever noticed how women love to tell their birth stories? Recently I drove to an overnight retreat with five other ladies. I only knew one of the ladies, so my introverted self was a tad out of its comfort zone. Before the vehicle even backed out of my driveway, the woman next to me told me she was breastfeeding her baby. The interviewer in me emerged and soon enough she and I were sitting in the back row of the SUV discussing breastfeeding, breast pumps, feeding schedules and more, as the other women carried on their own conversations. Within fifteen minutes though all the conversations merged into one single discussion. What was it? Our birth stories.
This story is not unusual for me. I often find myself learning other women’s birth stories within minutes of meeting them. In fact, on that same retreat, I found myself sitting on a bench overlooking the lake. Beside me was an older man I had never met before. We struck up a conversation that started with typical small talk, but before we said our goodbyes and headed in our own directions, I learned that his daughter had just given birth to his first grandchild. Soon enough, I was hearing the birth story of a woman I will never meet, told from the perspective of her father.
My line of work does lend itself to hearing a larger than normal amount of birth stories, but I know that a greater reason why I hear these stories has nothing to do with my work. It is because everybody’s story matters. We love to tell our personal stories as a way of connecting and relating, and what better part of the story to tell than the part that changed us so completely? We want to share the part of the story where we felt a range of emotions and feelings–fear, excitement, confusion, joy, pain–all rolled into one. We want to tell the story about the time we found courage and strength, or where we cried out for help and comfort. We want to talk about the time when our water broke at 35 weeks, when we walked and swayed and squatted in the middle of the road, hoping for progression; when joy immediately turned to fear with the call of the NICU; when we felt like we had completed a marathon. We want to talk about the moment we became mothers.
Every mother has a story to tell, and while most will easily relay theirs verbally, many struggle to write them. They fear they don’t know what to say or how to say it. That’s why I love this infographic from BirthMemoirs.com; it empowers every mother to write her own story.
Your story matters. So take a few moments to consider it. Write it down. And, share it with others. I welcome other women’s stories here at Unexpectant because together we can learn from one another.
If you’d like to share your own story, visit the Submission pages. Want to read some other women’s stories for inspiration? Take a look at the Birth Stories page of this site. And be sure to visit BirthMemoirs.com for more stories.